Delhi Cabinet approves smog tower installation in Connaught Place; project is 'first of its kind', says Kejriwal
The Delhi government is also setting up a panel of national-level transplantation agencies whose services can be availed for relocation of trees
New Delhi: The Delhi Cabinet on Friday approved a tree transplantation policy to prevent felling of trees due to development works in the National Capital, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, asserting that it will be a first-of-its-kind policy in the country.
Addressing an online media briefing in Delhi, he said the Cabinet has also approved a proposal to install a 'smog tower' in Delhi's Connaught Place to deal with air pollution.
The government has sanctioned Rs 20 crore, and the tower will come up in 10 months, the chief minister said, claiming that it will also be the first of its kind in the world.
Both measures have been taken as part of the Delhi government's ongoing "Yuddh, Pradushan Ke Viruddh (Battle against pollution)" campaign in the National Capital.
Under the new policy, which will help preserve trees for a clean and green Delhi, agencies concerned will have to transplant 80 percent of the trees affected by their projects to a new location, Kejriwal said.
A dedicated panel of government agencies with track record and experience of tree transplantation is being formed under the policy, he said.
"Any department requiring removal of a tree for some development work will seek help from any agency on the panel for transplantation," the chief minister said.
"The agency concerned will have to ensure that 80 percent of the total transplanted trees survive. Payments for transplantation will be made after one year to ensure this, and if less than 80 percent of the transplanted trees survive, payment will be deducted," Kejriwal added.
The government will also form local committees, which will include citizens, for checking, monitoring and certification of the tree transplantation exercise.
There are old, big shady trees in the city that are like a blessing, but sometimes, due to various development works, trees have to be cut, the chief minister said.
The tree transplantation policy passed by the Delhi government is the first by any state in the country, officials said.
Under this, 10 saplings will be planted in addition to the whole tree being dug up with the root intact and scientifically transplanted at another location instead of being felled.
The chief minister said Delhi will be the second city in the world to have smog towers. The central government is installing a smog tower in Anand Vihar, while the Delhi government will install another in Connaught Place, he said.
"The technology of this tower will be different from the one in China. It will suck polluted air from the top and release clean air from the bottom part of the tower. In China, the tower releases clean air from the top," Kejriwal said.
The chief minister added that the smog tower will be installed on a pilot project basis, and if successful, more such towers will come up in Delhi.
On Friday, Delhi's air quality was recorded in the 'poor' category but a government agency said it could improve by Sunday because of a likely change in the wind direction.
Arvind Kejriwal a 'megalomaniac', AAP resorting to 'old drama' it does ahead of every state poll: BJP
Taking a swipe at Kejriwal, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said it was a matter of 'surprise' that the AAP leader did not say that US president Joe Biden was also afraid of him
Kejriwal is on a day-long visit to the poll-bound state of Gujarat where he will address a town hall meeting in Vadodara
During his Gujarat visit ahead of the Assembly polls, Kejriwal had dinner with the auto driver and his family at his home in Ahmedabad on 12 September